The Academy of Country Music today announced that Thompson SquareHunter HayesJana KramerLee BriceBrantley Gilbert, and Kacey Musgraves are among the first round of nominees competing to win at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which take place this coming April.

All nominees announced so far are in three of what the ACM calls its “newcomer” categories: New Female Vocalist, New Male Vocalist, and New Vocal Duo or Group. As in years past, all three of these categories will be open to fan voting starting Jan. 21.

The winners of each of these newcomer categories will then compete for the overall New Artist of the Year award, which will be revealed live during the ACM Awards broadcast on April 7. The winners in each category, as well as the overall New Artist of the Year award, are ultimately determined through a combination of fan and professional ACM membership votes.

The three winners from these categories will be announced in February. They will then compete for the ACM New Artist of the Year award. Fan voting for that segment of the competition will take place starting March 25.

Last year’s ACM New Artist of the Year winner was Scotty McCreery.

The full list of nominees for the newcomer categories:

New Female Vocalist
Jana Kramer
Kacey Musgraves
Sunny Sweeney

New Male Vocalist
Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes

New Vocal Duo Or Group
Florida Georgia Line
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

The 48th Academy of Country Music Awards, cohosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, will be broadcast live on Sunday, April 7 on CBS.

– Kurt Wolff,


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